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Can You Fly a Drone in Jervis Bay?

If you want to see what is claimed to be the whitest sand on the planet, then you have to visit Jervis Bay. This tiny oceanside village and bay on Australia’s south coast is located in New South Wales.

Can you fly a drone in Jervis Bay?

You can fly your drone in and around parts of Jervis Bay with permission from the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage. You also need permission to fly within 5.5 kilometers of any helipads and airfields. Some parts of the bay are restricted airspace due to their proximity to military airfields.

Sounds confusing? It is, at least a little bit, but don’t worry. We’ll clear up all the confusion ahead, so make sure you check out all the great info to come!

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Can you fly a drone in Jervis Bay?

Jervis Bay is 39 square miles or 102 square kilometers. Although not large, every area of flight permissibility is mapped out to the tiniest degree.

While drone pilots both commercial and recreational are permitted to fly a drone in and around parts of Jervis Bay, the parts you choose make all the difference.

Here’s where you CAN fly a drone in Jervis Bay

So let’s begin by discussing where you can fly, shall we?

  • Scenic cliffs: The scenic cliffs you might have seen photos of online that made you fall in love with this part of Australia? Those are allowed. You can take some amazing overhead videos that would be exceptional if you’re a real estate commercial pilot.
  • Within the bay itself: Although we’d caution you against getting too close, if you wish to fly your drone within the parameters of Jervis Bay so you can see that white sand and blue ocean, that’s also allowed. Just don’t lose your drone in the water!
  • Target Beach: On Beercroft Peninsula is Target Beach, which you can reach by foot from the Target Beach track. You’ll have to walk along a shaded path for four kilometers before you come across the beach. Target Beach is popular for strolling and fishing, but drone pilots are welcome here too.
  • Callala Bay: On Jervis Bay’s northern side is Callala Bay, a coastal village known for varied activities like bushwalking, kayaking, boating, fishing, snorkeling, and swimming. Dolphins are a frequent sight here, which is why it’s great you can use your drone.
  • Huskisson and Vincentia Townships: As you continue southward along Jervis Bay, both Vincentia and Huskisson Townships are permissible places for pilots to launch their drones.

Going back to what we discussed in the intro, restrictions do apply, and you will likely have to obtain permission from the New South Wales or NSW Office of Environment & Heritage before you take off in some parts of Jervis Bay.

The NSW Office of Environment & Heritage was created to preserve Australia’s heritage and environment. The organization oversees many destinations.

Here’s where you CAN’T fly a drone in Jervis Bay

What about the rest of Jervis Bay? Well, the further southbound you go, the harder it becomes to fly a drone.

Murrays Beach in Booderee National Park, New South Wales, Australia.

The southward peninsula of Jervis Bay prohibits drone flight, as this is the home of Booderee National Park, which was once known as Jervis Bay Botanic Gardens and Jervis Bay National Park.

This national park is within the Jervis Bay Territory and spans approximately 63.12 square kilometers or 24.4 square miles.

The NWS Office of Environment & Heritage may grant permission to fly in Booderee in some instances, but without that permission, it’s illegal to use a drone here.

Green Patch to the Scottish Rocks at Murrays Beach and Steamers Beach are all within Booderee National Park, so don’t plan a morning or afternoon flight here until you check in with the NWS Office of Environment & Heritage.

But wait, there’s more!

Jervis Bay also has its own military aerodrome known as the Jervis Bay Airfield, which is two kilometers from the southern part of the bay.

Although it’s the only aerodrome in town, it still complicates matters. You’d need to obtain flight permissions before launching your drone, and even then, you have to maintain a respectful distance of 5.5 kilometers.

Residents say that you can sometimes fly in this restricted space between certain hours.

For instance, on Mondays through Thursdays between 8:30 a.m. and 11 p.m., you must ground your drone around the restricted airspace.

That also applies on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Any other time though, you should be able to fly.

You’re better off skipping any planned flights on Monday through Thursday, as by the time the airspace was open to you, it would be after dark anyway.

Plan to fly on the weekends but do it early!

Know before you go – use a map!

As you can see, using a drone in Jervis Bay is tricky.

If you’re not already using drone apps such as DroneDeploy, Map Pilot Pro, UAV Forecast, B4UFLY, or the DJI GO app, then we can’t stress enough how beneficial these will be when flying in Jervis Bay.

Those with a DJI drone will get enough warnings that entering restricted airspace should be next to impossible. Your drone could ground itself too.

The information we’ve presented to you in the last section is accurate to our knowledge, but changes in aircraft restrictions can sometimes occur on a dime.

You don’t want to be caught unawares, as if you are, you could face sometimes severe consequences.

As we’ve discussed on the blog, you could be shot down if you invade military airspace with your drone.

Even if you stay outside of military airspace, illegally venturing into a national park with a UAV could lead to punishments such as drone confiscation, fines, and/or imprisonment. It’s never worth the risk!

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Drone rules to follow when flying in Jervis Bay and other parts of Australia

To wrap things up, here are some Australian drone laws to keep in mind as you explore the beauty of Jervis Bay.

Keep 5 kilometers from airports

Even if you’re granted permission to share the skies with manned aircraft, you must still keep your drone at least 5 kilometers from aerodromes and helicopter landing sites. That’s approximately 3.11 miles. 

Give manned aircraft the right of way

If you find that your drone and a manned aircraft are moving in the same direction and getting too close to one another, the manned aircraft always has the right of way, not you.

Get your UAV away from the manned aircraft and quickly land it, keeping all safety protocols in mind as you do.

Do not use your drone in a hazardous fashion

Flying a drone is a responsibility; you’re expected to use that responsibility wisely. Your drone should never introduce hazards to other aircraft (including your fellow unmanned aircraft), property, and/or people.

You can only fly one drone at a time

More experienced pilots could maybe commandeer several drones simultaneously but doing so in Australia is illegal. Keep it to one drone at a time.

Stay 30 meters from people

People in Jervis Bay may be long-time residents or tourists who, like you, are trying to enjoy a nice time. Either way, give them a wide berth, keeping your drone 30 meters or 9.84 feet away.

Keep your drone in your visual line of sight

In Jervis Bay and elsewhere in Australia, you have to be able to see your drone to legally fly it. If your drone is beyond your visual line of sight, it’s no longer in your control, so it’s a hazard.

Do not fly higher than 120 meters over the ground

In Australia, you don’t quite get the altitude standard of 400 feet. Rather, it’s 120 meters, which is approximately 393.7 feet. It’s close enough!

Jervis Bay in New South Wales is a favorite of drone pilots because it’s utterly gorgeous and does afford flight freedoms.

However, you should use a drone mapping app to be sure of where you can fly versus where you can’t, as there’s a national park in the vicinity and military airspace!